Tuesday 14th May 2013
Day 21 - Ilfracombe to Winton, Qld - 205 kms.

We actually had rain last night, all of 4.4mm and we heard every drop. It was beautiful. It was a mild night, and I started and ended with a single blanket.
Another short trip, today's distance of only 205kms, so there is no need to rush. I arose about 7am and went on the internet, while Marg finally woke around 7:45am. Had brekky and packed up and left at 8:34am. Our first stop was 20kms up the road, when we topped up with fuel at Longreach, you can see the 'Flying Kangaroo' on the tail of the Jumbo a couple of kms outside of town. Our next and last stop was at the 95kms from Ilfracombe. Marg was feeling a 'bit off' so she slept until the outskirts of Winton and as I setup camp she had a sleep. Last Year, we arrived at the Matilda Country CP at 11:23am and yesterday we arrived at 11:24am. Is that spooky or what? Probably or what.

I checked in and spoke to Tammy, told her that we were here last year and it rained, so we couldn't drive to Opalton as the road was too treacherous and that we plan to visit Opalton tomorrow AND it better not rain in the meantime. As we are here for 2 nights, I connected water, power, sullage and erected Marg's special room at the front. We received Free to All digital TV, so I didn't erect the Dish.

Marg awoke feeling a lot better, so we visited downtown Winton, which we did last year when we were here and guess what, it hasn't changed, except the Hardware on the corner has gone bust and closed the doors. We parked out the front of the Pub and walked next door to the Bakery and had some pies that were absolutely YUMMA. We sat out the front of the bakery on their tables and chairs and shared our lunch with the 'Winton Flies'. Have I told you this one lately: 'There are no single flies here, only married one with HUGE extended families" hehehehehehehehe. Aren't I hysterical.

After our lunch, we walked up and down the main street of Winton, visiting the same shops as we did last year, it is still very interesting. A knitted clown caught Marg's eye and we visited the lady who made it. Marg wanted to buy it, but the lady said it was damaged and she can't sell it. Great. I thought, then Marg saw a smaller knitted clown and bought that one for our granddaughter Mont. We visited all the opal shops again, this time we didn't buy anything, even though, I did ask the price of a nice chunk of Boulder Opal but $100 was out of my price range.

Dinner was the leftovers of Marg's world famous damper. It was YUMMA. We will watch ch 7 tonight until 7pm, then watch recorded shows.

Tomorrow, we are doing a day trip to Opalton to check it out and do a bit of fossicking.

Our route from Ilfracombe to Winton, Qld - 205 kms.

Morella Rest area.

Morella Rest area.

Morella Rest area.

Wednesday 15th May 2013
Day 22 - Our fossicking day trip to Opalton.

It was a mild night, and I started and ended with a single blanket.
After we got ourselves organised, we left camp at 9:06am and headed towards Opalton and finally arriving at 11:33am, after a 107kms of gravel varying from good gravel to corrugated gravel. We stopped for a smoko after 72kms, there were plenty of roos grazing along the side of the road. We did encounter a gate, which Marg had to open and shut, just after the airstrip at Weona Station. We stopped and took a photo of the 'Welcome to Opalton sign', then saw the street map of Opalton painted on a car bonnet. Our first stop was at 'The Outpost' but it was closed, we then proceeded to the Bush Camp, which consisted of a toilet/shower block with a flushing toilet and the hot water has to be heated by lighting a fire. The Bush Camp consists of 3 or 4 huts which the campers can use on a 'first in' basis. The guys I spoke too, had a tent but were using the hut to store all their provisions in and said if it was too windy that they would sleep in the hut. The hut was built using galvanised metal sheeting. If you are into 'roughing it' these huts would suit.
There were a group of 6 guys and Lily, who are locals, dismantling one of the huts that was riddled with white ants and replacing it with a new hut made with metal frame. Some of the locals consisted of Darryl and Lily, and Gary who runs tours. Marg and I did a bit of fossicking amongst the mullock heaps around the surrounds of the Bush Camp. We found some colour, as in small bits of opal plus some nice rocks, which I should be able cut into nice slices, so Marg can polish them.

Marg and I had lunch sitting on the tailgate of the mighty Navara, then spent another 30 minutes fossicking before driving back to Winton. We left Opalton at 1:53pm and arrived back at camp at 3:50pm, then I drove over the road to the BP and topped up with fuel and air, ready for tomorrow's departure.
For the rest of the arvo, I packed up some of our stuff. I met Milly the Golden Retriever, our next door neighbour and gave her a big cuddle, she is so beautiful.

Dinner was the sausages and vegies. It was YUMMA. We will watch the last two episodes of 'The Mentalist' which I had taped.

Tomorrow, we are off to Cloncurry for a 5 night stay.

Are we there yet? Nope just starting.

Different road surfaces.

Different road surfaces.

Shift your bum, or you are dead like Eddy the Emu.

We have arrived.

One of the huts that you can use.

Me in action.

The locals.

The Town Map.

Milly is beautiful.

Thursday 16th May 2013
Day 23 - Winton to Cloncurry, Qld - 348 kms.

We actually had rain last night, all of 0.4mm but we heard every drop. It was beautiful. It was a mild night, and I started and ended with a single blanket.
Today's trip was longer than normal all 348kms. We woke about 7am and I started packing up in between the drizzle. We were all packed up and ready to leave at 8:34am. The 1st stop was at a rest area 66kms north of Winton, where I took my best photo of our rig in 2008, so today, I took another photo. As we were there a B Triple pulled in. We proceeded another 81kms until we stopped, our next stop was at McKinlay then we stopped again at Fullarton River rest area, before arriving at the Caravan park at 1:21pm.

We paid $150 for 5 nights and were shown to our site. It was a full setup, except the awning was only wound out about 3 feet. I setup the Dish but it wasn't receiving a strong enough signal so we were receiving picture breaks. Tomorrow, I will try and get a stronger signal. While Marg had a nanna nap, I drove over to the Information Centre and bought 2 copies of the excellent book "Cloncurry Trails" latest edition, we will donate a copy to our Mordy Lapidary Club.
Dinner were hamburgers bought from the Roadrunner Roadhouse, they were YUMMA.

Tomorrow, we were going fossicking, but as we both feel a tad tired, we will now have a rest day and check out downtown Cloncurry. Fossicking will now be Saturday.

Our route from Winton to Cloncurry, Qld - 348 kms.

Ahhh the geology. Nice Hills.

B Triple coming into the Rest Area.

B Triple.

Still no traffic.

Still no traffic.

Rest Area 17kms south of Kynuna.

My best photo of our rig taken 9th Jul 2008.

Same spot today, but overcast.

A panoranic view of McKinlay. Bugger all trees.

Friday 17th May 2013
Day 24 - Chillin' in The Curry.

It was rest day today, so we slept until after 7am, when we laid in bed and watched Sunrise until after 8am, when I finally got up, Marg didn't, she stayed in bed until after 8:30am. While Marg buggered about, I tried setting up the Sat Dish again, but still without any success, so I drove into the Cloncurry CBD to Access Electronics and bought a new LNB for the dish, and also visited a couple of businesses looking for a mirror to replace the one that Eddie commited suicide on. No one has the one I want (Aussie Truck mirror), it is not that important, as I still have the right hand side and a camera on the back of the fiver. With a bit of luck, I should find one in Cairns. When I returned, I spent a couple of hours buggering about with the Dish, but to no avail. Finally, I reconnected the old LNB and it worked, I have no idea why, but it works so we are happy. It may have been that there are trees near me and they may have caused interference. After lunch, we visited Woollies for a small shop, and drove around Cloncurry. I also sent an email to Ivanhoe Mines requesting permission to their Amethyst Castle site. I received an affirmative reply, so we are all go for tomorrow. I spent the rest of the arvo, updating Harry Hema and Tom our GPSs with the Amethyst Castle directions. Marg sent most of the arvo preparing tonight's Curried sausages and rice, It was YUMMA.

Tomorrow, we are off to Amethyst Castle for a spot of fossicking and maybe call into Kuridala Amethyst on the way home, as we pass its 'front door'.

No photos today.

Saturday 18th May 2013
Day 25 - Fossicking at Amethyst Castle - 280kms round trip.

Busy day, we are off to Amethyst Castle about 130kms south of Cloncurry. I set the alarm for 6am, so we could get organised and leave about 8am. It took 2 hours, because Marg didn't get up until 7am, then we went on the internet etc. We finally got away at 7:58am and headed towards Mt Isa for 12kms when we turned left onto the Cloncurry Dajarra Road for 45kms when we turned left and headed toward Kuridala on the Selwyn Road. We past the Kuridala turnoff and continued for a further 42kms, eventually arriving at the Amethyst Castle at 10:02am. We drove to the southern side of the hill and that is where we found the amethyst as directed by Nathan from our Fossicking Forum, that's where we found heaps of dark purple amethyst. We found a tailgate full, about 1.5 Woollies bags. While Marg was busy checking out the amethyst, I turned into Sir Edmund Hillary and climbed Amethyst Castle, the view was absolutely brilliant. I was upset a tad, as each time I tried for a panoranic photo, there didn't gell. I took some photos of the mighty Navara and Marg using my normal camera. The hill is covered in quartz and amethyst, it is everywhere but varies in quality.

After spending 1.5 hours there, we had our fill of amethyst and headed homeward, stopping at Kuridala Amethyst on the way. By this time, the rain was very light, but persistent. The red dusty road was slowly turning to 'light' mud, you could hear it hitting the mudguards. We hummed and harred, whether to visit Kuridala Amethyst or not, but as we were in the area we decided too. The only problem was that someone had pushed a new graded road through and we couldn't find the gate, which leads to the goat track which finishes at the amethyst field. After a few tries, I saw a track that looked familar but as we approached a steep dry creek crossing we stopped and did a U turn. So disappointed that we couldn't find the Kuridala Amethyst, we now headed back to Cloncurry and our camp.

The couple of drops of rain stopped, the overcast skies cleared and it became quite warm driving back. We stopped at Woollies for some supplies that we (aka Marg) forgot yesterday and also stopped at the pub for some cans of chilled refresher. Back at camp we washed todays haul of amethyst and then we both had beautiful showers (separately of course). We are now sitting outside the fiver, Marg is talking to Luke (son #2) on her iPad, while I am updating our website, the sun is slowly sinking and I need to try out, another one of those 'chilled refreshers'.

Dinner for me is frozen pizza and Marg will have a cheese jaffle, nothing too complicated as we are tired after our fossicking. I have the Sat Dish working correctly, so a quiet night watching TV is in order.

Tomorrow we are off to Sunset Mine near Mary Kathleen, to fossick for 'pretty rocks'.

Beautiful views.

View from the top of the hill.

View from the top of the hill.

I did climb that hill.

Today's haul.

Today's haul.

Today's haul.

This area has recently been dug up.

The fossicking area is between the 2 hills.

Lucky that we were authorised.

These are our slice and polish samples.

These are our crystal samples.

Beautiful dark colours.

Just left Amethyst Castle before turning onto Selwyn Rd.

Sunday 19th May 2013
Day 26 - Fossicking at Sunset Mine - 136kms round trip.

An easy day with a bit of fossicking at Sunset Mine (about 68kms towards Mt Isa) in the morning, then a relaxing afternoon back at camp.
We were in no hurry to get up, as it was a sealed road the whole way it won't take too long to get there, so we watched Weekend Sunrise and by the time we were organised and ready to leave, it was 9:13am. We travelled along the Barkly Highway and proceeded to the 65km marker and turned right into the Mary Kathleen 'ghost town'. The road into Mary Kathleen is bloody awful, it is sealed, but with heaps of serious potholes, we drove 1.3kms then veered left onto a gravel track, we continued for a further 1.4km to the Sunset Mine, here we parked and walked around looking for 'pretty rocks'. The mine is full of calcite, so it wasn't real hard to find a nice chunk of white calcite, Marg found some pink calcite, malakite and some peacock ore (bornite). I also climbed upto the entrances to the mine but wasn't 'game' to walk in there, so I took photos instead. We then drove over to the old, deserted camp, where there is heaps of dendritic jasper, I found some nice chunks, but Marg said we have heaps of that at home, so I emptied my dendritic jasper on the ground. We found some malakite for Don at our Gem club, as he said he would like some. That was it, so we headed back to camp leaving the mine at 12:03pm, stopping at a rest area to take some photos of the beautiful scenery.

We arrived back at camp at 1:00pm, we had lunch which was salmon sangas, then started to sort through our bags of 'pretty rocks' discarding any that we no longer want. We only checked 4 bags, before the sun started to get to us, so we stopped and Marg went and cooked some spagetti sauce, while I washed the mighty Navara. I can now confirm that Eddy the emu has caused a small dent in the rear door, some paint is missing again on the rear door and there are 2 black marks on the rear door, I assume these came from the mirror when Eddy ripped it off the front door. Bloody stupid 'dead' emu.

We met a lovely couple from Ningi just near Bribie Island, they gave us a fossicking spot that we will visit and also while we are staying at Dicky Beach, we will visit them.
We finished the afternoon, sitting under the awning with a beautiful cool breeze, having a chilled refresher or two, Marg did manage to drink her last Midori. Dinner was spagetti, absolutely YUMMA.

Tomorrow, we will visit the mineral collection at the Information Centre and a bit of food shopping, but apart from that, we will relax.

One of the entrances to the Sunset Mine.

One of the entrances to the Sunset Mine.

View from above the mine entrance.

View from above the mine entrance.

Another entrance.

More scenery views.

A Triple Road Train.

Our display samples.

Our slice and polish samples.

My view from on the hill above the mine.

Just more of the beautiful scenery.

Just more of the beautiful scenery.

Monday 20th May 2013
Day 27 - Rest and pack up day in 'The Curry'.

It was rest day today, only planned to visit the Visitor's Info Centre to view its mineral collection and sort through our rocks and do some food shopping plus top up with fuel and air, in preparation for our drive to Normanton tomorrow.
We were in no hurry to get up, so we laid in bed and watched Sunrise, I arose about 7:15am while Marg wasn't too long after that. We buggered about on the internet, before having brekky and then went outside and sorted through all our bags of rocks and throwing out any that aren't needed. While fossicking you cannot tell that every rock is what it is, most are covered in 'crap', that's a technical term, so we bring home anything that looks OK and then check them at camp, hence, we have some that are 'crap'. It took us nearly all morning to go through all our rocks. We sorted each bag and photographed them. Finally, we finished and made lunch, tomato sangas and they were YUMMA.

After lunch, we drove over to the Cloncurry Information Centre and paid $8 each to visit their museum, which have a mineral collection, which was very good. We left there and drove into town, topped up with fuel and air, then visited Woollies, followed by the bottleshop to buy Marg's Midori and finally visited the ATM. Back at camp, I started to pack up various bits and pieces, then relaxed in the shade with a chilled refresher or two.

Dinner was chicken on skewers with vegies. It was YUMMA. Followed by a quiet night watching TV.

Tomorrow, as we are leaving we will empty the 'shitter' and then drive to Normanton approx 383kms away.

No photos today.

*2013 - Index page*

Heading to Normanton.